Attendees are asked to research a lost species, or something else they want to grieve, perhaps a meadow or woodland lost to housing development. They are also given a card ‘tombstone’, on which they will write an epitaph.
The sacred space is set up. The altar is set up in the centre of the circle, with a large cauldron, and lit tea lights, one for each species we wish to honour, grieve and remember.
Celebrant 1: In this place that is not a place, in this time that is not a time, we gather together to mark the death time of the year. All things young and fair must fade, all that is vital eventually grows weary, all that is strong becomes weak, and all that is full of promise and hope must pass away. We remember our ancestors, we remember loved ones who have passed away. But who stands for the species that have become extinct, that die unmarked and unmourned?
All (together): We stand. We stand for them. We mourn them.
One by one, each person comes forward in turn and speaks about their animal, and expressed what they want to say. They put out one tea light, and place their tombstone against the cauldron.
Celebrant 2: The Goddess is always with us, the steady heartbeat that supports us always as we remember and honour those that have gone before. (Begins a quiet, slow drum beat like a heartbeat, and chants) Honour, remember, honour, remember, honour, remember…
All: Honour, remember, Honour, remember,, Honour, remember,
Celebrant 3: All things return to the womb of the Goddess, the great cauldron of creation, there to dissolve and be remade and await another dawn.
Here is the cauldron of Ceridwen which transforms all things, which can regenerate all things in her underworld womb. In her lies our hope.
(Places the extinguished lights in the cauldron.)
The ocean of time is wide and as your spirits sail upon its winds and tides know this –
nothing passes from the records of the keepers. Each leaf, each feather, each child, each joy, each life is noted. Is recorded. Is held. All beings across time are potent within the record. All are held in the womb of the Goddess, ready that when the time is right, they can and will return.
Remember that what is lost to the mundane lives on within the Universal Spirit.
You have the power within you to elicit change. And change elicits the returning of life.
And all things, when the time is right, may return.
Go forth and make change.
You are the life bringers……….
This rite is ended, blessed be.
From the forthcoming Hearth Witch’s Ritual Year by Anna Franklin, Llewellyn 2020